The Owner says she has been struggling with Nietzsche. I offer to come and bite his ankles next time but she says it’s not that kind of struggle.
I say no kind of struggle is too great for the Moral Dog (I am holding Superdog in reserve at this point.). She says Nietzsche would have no truck with Moral Dogs, as he seems to have been unconvinced by the whole idea of morality. He said, ‘you have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.’
I can see a certain logic in Nietzsche’s view. It would explain, for example, why the Owner and I have such differing attitudes to whether or not I should want to go in the shower. The Way of the Moral Dog is not helped by endlessly washing his Moral Scent down the drain. Who wants to smell like a Wuss? The Owner says she does. Exactly, I say, Nietzsche has a point.
He may do, she says, but it isn’t that point. She says Nietzsche attacks morality both for its commitment to untenable descriptive claims about human agency, and for the deleterious impact of its norms on the flourishing of the human beings. And dogs, she adds, almost as an afterthought.
This seems to me to hold the explanation. I remind her that Georg Brandes called Nietzsche an ‘aristocratic radicalist,’ who thought the world was divided into great human beings, and all the rest. Nietzsche was not into equality, I say, so you can hardly expect him to share Kant’s view that all moral agents are of the same worth.
The Owner seems to take some comfort from this. She puts away ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’ and picks up Terry Pratchett. She says Nietzsche, it is clear to her, never had a Moral Dog.
How different might modern philosophy have been.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.